Research Program. Precision Nutrition and Aging

Metabolic Syndrome Group

Group leader: Dr. Pablo José Fernández Marcos

Objectives: metabolic syndrome (MS) is a group of pathologies caused by a prolonged imbalance between energy intake and expenditure, and is strongly related to the degenerative process of aging. The main MS-associated pathologies are obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and cancer, which makes MS one of  he main health challenges of developed countries. This research group is focused on the study and development of nutritional interventions to fight MS and aging. More precisely, we are focused on two main research lines: characterization and development of new bioactive products with evidences of metabolic activity, for which no molecular mechanism is yet known; and the study of the beneficial effects and applications of fasting as a powerful nutritional intervention.

For the first line, we will analyze a battery of pure compounds and extracts from different natural sources, and will measure their effects on essential metabolic processes in obesity and diabetes development, such as insulin signaling, mitochondrial activity, the pentose phosphate pathway or brown fat thermogenesis. Once safety and effectivity of these bioactive products are checked on mice, we can start designing nutritional assays on human volunteers, taking advantage ofthe nutrigenomic platform at IMDEA Food.  For the second research line, we are currently studying the ability of fasting to enhance anti-cancer chemotherapy treatment, in two ways: first, fasting protects from chemotherapy toxicity; second, fasting potentiates anti-tumor immune responses.

Dr. Pablo José Fernández Marcos

Group leader of the Metabolic Syndrome Group

Dr. Pablo José Fernández Marcos studied Biochemistry in the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid. He obtained his PhD in the laboratory of Dr. Manuel Serrano, at the CNIO, for which he obtained the Special PhD Award and published 8 research articles about mouse models of cancer, metabolism and aging in mice.

He them moved to the laboratory of Prof. Johan Auwerx, at the EPFL, Switzerland, studying mouse models of metabolic alterations and achieving 5 publications. He returned to the CNIO after two years at the EPFL, where he combined studies on cancer with research on metabolism, publishing 9 new articles. In December 2015, he was appointed Group leader Metabolic Syndrome Group at IMDEA Food, focused on nutritional interventions against obesity, diabetes and cancer.

From this standpoint, Dr. Fernández Marcos has participated in several publications about the potential of molecular drugs and fasting to improve metabolic status and to enhance chemotherapy safety and efficacy. In total, he counts with 29 publications in prestigious journals as Cell, Cancer Cell, Cell Metabolism, Journal of Clinical Investigations, Nature Communications, PNAS or EMBO Journal, 4 of them as co-corresponding author (already from IMDEA Food) and 9 as first author.

Phone: +34 91 727 81 00, ext. 209



Marión Martínez.
Claudia Vales-Villamarín Fernández.
Benjamín Brito Fernández.
Pilar Jiménez López.
Simone van Gertman.
Alexia Gómez Rodríguez.

most relevant publications
  • Link W#, Fernandez-Marcos PJ#. FOXO transcription factors at the interface of metabolism and cancer. International
    Journal of Cancer 2017. #: corresponding authors.
  • Lopez-Guadamillas E, Muñoz-Martin M, Martinez S, Pastor J, Fernandez-Marcos PJ, Serrano M. PI3Kα inhibition reduces obesity in mice. Aging 2016 (Albany. NY).
  • Mosteiro L, Pantoja C, Alcazar N, Marión RM, Chondronasiou D, Rovira M, Fernandez-Marcos PJ, Muñoz-Martin M, Blanco-Aparicio C, Pastor J, Gómez-López G, De Martino A, Blasco MA, Abad M & Serrano M.. Tissue damage and senescence provide critical signals for cellular reprogramming in vivo. Science 2016.
  • Lopez-Guadamillas E, Fernandez-Marcos PJ, Pantoja C, Muñoz-Martin M, Martínez D, Gómez-López G, Campos- Olivas R, Valverde AM, Serrano M. p21Cip1 plays a critical role in the physiological adaptation to fasting through activation of PPARa. Sci Rep. 2016.
  • Maraver A*, Fernandez-Marcos PJ*, Cash TP, Mendez-Pertuz M, Dueñas M, Maietta P, Martinelli P, Muñoz-Martin M, Martínez-Fernández M, Cañamero M, Roncador G, Martinez-Torrecuadrada JL, Grivas D, de la Pompa JL, Valencia A, Paramio JM, Real FX, Serrano M. Notch pathway inactivation promotes bladder cancer progression. JCI. 125(2):824-30 (2015). *: authors contributed equally tothis work.
main research grants

Principal Investigator: Pablo J. Fernandez-Marcos
Project Title: Characterization of the molecular mechanisms of short-term fasting as an enhancer of chemotherapy
Date: 2018-2021
Funded by: Ministry of Economy, Industry and Competitivenes.


Principal Investigator: Pablo J. Fernandez-Marcos Project Title: New food-derived bioactive products against obesity and diabetes
Funded by: Ramón Areces Foundation